Flood Warnings

By | January 9, 2013

How Far Can They Go in Protecting You from Floods?

Flood warnings can help you stay alert for floods that are expected to occur. The environment agencies set up by the government, particularly the National Weather Service, are responsible for providing warnings so that citizens can do what they can to minimize the damage they will suffer in case flooding occurs. These warnings are provided in many different ways.

It is important for all individuals to learn how to find these warnings, to know what they mean, and to know what to do in case these warnings are issued. Although flooding can hardly be prevented or controlled, having sufficient warning can help you minimize the damage that flooding can cause.

Where to Find Them

The National Weather Service uses plenty of ways to disseminate flood-warnings, but you should also stay tuned to common media sources so you can be easily reached by these warnings. The most important sources of flood-warnings are the TV, the radio, and the Internet. The agency also uses codes to specify what kind of warning is in effect. The code FLW refers to flood-warning, FFA to flood watch, and FFW to flash flood-warning. These are the warnings you should watch out for.

You can check the National Weather Service website to check for flood and hurricane forecasts; there you will see if there are any current warnings that are in place as well as the complete list of warnings broken down by state or county. The website has a complete listing of all the local offices and centers of the agency and whether there are warnings in these areas.


Types of Flood Warnings and What You Should Do

There are three different levels of flood-warnings, which are flood alert, flood warning, and severe warning. The first level is a flood alert or flood watch, which means flooding is possible. If this alert is issued, it is your responsibility to actively follow the local news for forecasts and news on water levels. If you have any flood protection plans or measures in place, you should be prepared to implement them at any time.

The second level is a warning, which means flooding is expected and action should be taken immediately. You can start moving all your possessions to safer locations. Pay special attention to appliances, cars, food, documents and books, and other items that can easily be damaged. You should also turn off the gas, electricity, and plumbing system. You can also start putting down sandbags in all the entrances and exits in your home to try and reduce the amount of water that can get inside your home.

If the severe warning is up, the flooding is not just expected, but it is also potentially dangerous to life. In such a situation, an evacuation may be possible, so prepare some things that you are most likely to need in case of one. You are also advised to move to a higher place with a ready exit and with no access to electricity. Keep your mobile phone handy so you can call emergency services any time.

What Happens After? 

After a flood or after the danger of flooding passes, the same agency that issued the warning will then issue an official statement that the warning is no longer in force. Unless you receive this final notification, you are advised to keep alert even though the situation looks safe enough for you.